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27 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Hypermobility

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Though the effects hypermobility has on your life are anything but invisible to you, others around you may not realize the kinds of challenges you’re reckoning with every day. While you’re trying to walk without dislocating, or readjust your sitting position for the hundredth time time that day, the people around you may have no idea. They might see the “habits” you’ve adopted to try and minimize pain, dislocations or hyperextensions, and not realize that’s the reasoning behind them.

The more people understand how hypermobility affects your body and lifestyle, and the lengths you have to go to deal with it, hopefully the more compassion, understanding and even awareness we can raise. Plus, if you have hypermobility yourself, it can be reassuring to know you’re not the only one who’s adopted these techniques and strategies for getting through every day. We asked some of our Mighty readers what things they do that other people don’t realize they’re doing because of their hypermobility. Do any of these ring true for you, too? Let us know what you would add in the comments below.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “I’m always looking at the ground when I’m walking, to others it may seem like I don’t want to talk or I’m upset but it’s really because my ankles and knees are so hypermobile that a step on uneven ground that I’m not anticipating could seriously hurt me. My friends also think it’s weird that I can clasp my bra behind me and zip up my own dresses but I can do it because of my hypermobile shoulders.” — Ryleigh C.
  2. “Pace, I pace a lot to keep my mind off the pain of my hyperextending joints.” — Kaelynn B.
  3. If I’m sitting for an extended period of time, I’ll rest on the table to support my back pain. I also hold onto the cart at a grocery store if I need to bend down to reach something for support, but inevitably pop my shoulder trying to prevent a dizzy spell.” — Celaena W.
  4. “Crack my knuckles. The joints slip out all the time and popping feels good.” — Vanessa B.
  5. “The way I hold pencils/pens. It hurts my fingers to hold them the ‘proper’ way. My mom tried for a long time to teach me to do it the right way, but this way was more comfortable. She eventually gave up.” — Christina G.
  6. “I cross my arms frequently to keep my shoulders from sagging.” — Caroline M.
  7. “Waddling when I walk. My knees and hips are always floating in and out. I’ve developed a funky stride because of that and the pain.” — Julia O.
  8. I use a cane when I have to do a lot of walking. Others are baffled, because sometimes I don’t use it and sometimes I do.” — Tab M.
  9. “Wear a special ring. It’s a splint in disguise as jewelry.” — Lauren F.
  10. “I try to engage my entire kinetic chain when I am not relaxed (which I can only do in more ergonomic positions). It is like doing yoga all the time through your whole body, so it is pretty exhausting. But since that is pretty difficult to do almost all the time, I still have dozens of subluxations daily.” — Jaymie H.
  11. “I roll and change positions constantly in my sleep to the point that I never get quality sleep – I have to change positions or my joints will slip out of position or become inflamed.” — Sylvia C.
  12. “I have over 60 dislocations a day, and I tend to play brave when it happens because otherwise I’m afraid of driving everyone else away. So, sometimes when I dislocate I go really quiet and seem to ignore people/not pay attention when in fact I’m suppressing the agony of my tailbone popping off the end of my spine, or my collarbone shooting out the front of my body even though I was sitting perfectly still. I try to hide it all which I’m sure makes me seem rude, but honestly I don’t believe people around me would want to see what I’m really going through.” — Leah R.
  13. “Constantly readjusting. It’s not that I can’t sit still, it’s that stuff starts to slide out when I sit in one position especially when relaxed.” — Nicolette K.
  14. “My natural position is wrists flopped over, legs turned in, shoulders lopsided. The one that bothers me the most is the floppy appearance of my wrists, because I don’t even realize I’m doing it until I look at photos!” — Michaela S.
  15. “Half laying on carts while shopping to help take some of the weight off my joints.” — Rebekah B.
  16. “I’m constantly relocating my joints when they sub or dislocate. Many people think I’m just cracking them but it’s a bit more painful than that. Many times I do this subconsciously. I have to wear slings, supports and even splints for one day and not the next. Many people accuse me of faking things for attention. It’s quite exhausting.” — Melissa S.
  17. “Holding my shoulder. My shoulder tends to come out when I’m walking so sometimes I have to hold it in place.” — Michelle D.
  18. “Taking longer than anyone else to eat when we go out. Put your jaw together with rubber and see how you eat!” — Caitlin G.
  19. “Using a really small purse… Because anything bigger pulls my shoulder out. And sometimes I even carry it because it’s still too much.” — Angela T.
  20. “I curl up and wedge myself into a corner whenever I have to sit. Doesn’t matter if it’s the couch or the floor, as long as my legs are tucked under and I can lean. Helps to keep me stable so I can actually rest my body for a minute.” — Karly B.
  21. “‘Monkey toes!’ I pick everything and anything off the floor with my toes to grab it without bending over.” — Keely I.
  22. “When taking pictures and holding things, my thumb tends to hyperextend. My super flexible fingers are prone to this!” — Hallie P.
  23. “Rocking side to side when I am standing for any length of time to keep my hip adductors engaged so my hips don’t start sliding.” — ShayLee W.
  24. “I keep my upper body stiff because of my shoulders. For as long as I can remember, if I relax my shoulders, they slide right out of socket.” — Sarah H.
  25. “Bowling last night with a 6-pound ball… and my husband told me I was way overdoing the windup. Proprioception? What’s that?” — Caitlin G.
  26. “Sitting wherever and whenever I need to. Some people call me lazy or disrespectful because of that. If I feel a subluxation/dislocation coming or simply feel unstable, I’m going to sit even if I’m in an aisle at Walmart or a hallway at church. I have to protect my body because I don’t heal from injuries as a normal person would.” — Lauren N.
  27. I never rush over to anywhere no matter what. Quick movements – especially with my legs – could end up subluxing my hips or knees. I have to walk in a very controlled, even paced manner.” — Mandy G.
Originally published: June 6, 2018
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